15 March 2009
Address at the
Queensland Labor Campaign Launch
Qld Conservatorium, Brisbane

It’s so good to be back home.

It’s good to be back home in Queensland.

And it’s good to be back amongst many old friends.

And one of those friends I’ve known for 20 years.

Now that’s a fair slice of time.

You do get to know somebody over 20 years.

We worked together under Wayne Goss.

Since then, she’s worked as a Minister for Communications, Education, Treasury, Deputy Premier and now Premier.

That friend is Anna Bligh.

A good person.

A strong leader.

With a no nonsense, practical down-to-earth approach.

Someone who speaks her mind – and in my experience, speaks her mind forcefully.

And a person refined through the fire of public office.

Friends, we live in a time when leadership such as this is now put to the test.

We live in a time where there are no easy choices.

Only hard choices.

Since Anna has become Premier and I Prime Minister, we have seen the onset of the greatest global economic crisis, the greatest global economic recession in three quarters of a century.

For the first time since the Second World War, the global economy will shrink in 2009.

For the first time since the war, global trade will shrink in 2009.

More than 30 global banks have either collapsed or been bailed out by their home governments.

Stock markets around the world have lost more than half of their value in the last year.

Superannuation funds have lost more than one fifth.

And no country, including Australia, and no state, including Queensland, is immune from this global economic storm, as jobs are smashed across the world.

Virtually every political leader in the world recognises the size and seriousness of the global economic recession except Mr Springborg who says it’s “peripheral to what’s happening in Queensland”, and Mr Turnbull who says it’s all “overhyped”.

How can you begin to deal with the threat that now confronts Australia and Queensland, created by the global economic recession, if Mr Springborg as Premier, says the warnings about the seriousness of the threat are “absolute nonsense”?

Friends, there are two possible responses to the global economic recession and its impact on Australia and Queensland jobs.

You can either sit back, wait and do nothing and leave people to face the full force of the global economic storm unprotected as the Liberals and Nationals recommend.

Or you can act decisively, to stimulate the economy, to support jobs, to reduce the impact of the storm - as the Queensland Government is doing.

That is the absolute choice here in these difficult and dangerous times.

Let every Queensland family fend for themselves against the storm, or instead have a government that steps into build our defences against the storm - because we are all in this together.

Friends, together with Anna Bligh I’m in the business of building our defences against the global economic storm and its impact on Queensland jobs.

That’s why we’re working together to invest up to $2.5 billion in every one of Queensland’s 1,449 primary schools.

To the biggest school modernisation program in Australia’s history, to boost jobs and to build better schools for the future.

That’s why we’ve worked together to invest in building state of the art trades training centres across 85 of Queensland’s secondary schools, to boost jobs and to build the skills we need for the future – with more to come.

That’s why we’ve worked together to invest in 48 thousand new computers in Queensland’s secondary schools – with more to come.

And in partnership with Queensland, we’ve now created places for nearly 14 thousand people in Productivity Places programs, undertaking pre-apprenticeships, and out of trades apprenticeship, to help our young people through the global recession and to build the skills we will need for economic recovery.

Here’s to the practical stuff of governments that we do together to reduce the impact of the storm, not just to stand back and say I have no responsibility at all to protect people from the storm.

The Liberals and Nationals have an approach which says that somehow they have no responsibility to defend us from the onslaught from the global economy.

We have a different approach.

Friends, that’s Anna’s plan and our plan to work together to steer Queensland through these stormy economic seas that lie ahead.

Mr Springborg offers a different plan in three parts.

To deny there is a global economic threat to jobs here at home.

To refuse to support practical projects to reduce the damage to Queensland jobs.

And worse, to add to the damage, by deliberately throwing 12 thousand Queenslanders out of jobs, by cutting $1 billion from Queensland’s public services.

I say to Mr Springborg – wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Mr Springborg’s policy of sacking another 12 thousand Queenslanders in the middle of a global economic recession is not just risky, it’s not just reckless, it’s downright dangerous.

I ask Mr Springborg this – how on earth can you credibly tackle unemployment by deliberately making another 12 thousand people unemployed?

Friends, Queensland and Australia are now staring at the eye of the global economic storm.

Now is not the time to risk an unstable minority government led by a man whose explicit policy is to make another 12 thousand people unemployed.

Now is the time for a Premier capable of strong leadership and a practical plan to boost jobs, and build the infrastructure we need for our future.

Friends, please welcome one such leader, Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland.